Basic Building Features - Louisiana House Home & Landscape Resource Center

Basic Spatial Program | Sustainability Criteria and Features

LaHouse is an LSU AgCenter demonstration and Extension program showcasing a range of solutions for sustainable, "high performance" housing  for the gulf region. Below is a list of basic features of the demonstration house. 

See the Related Articles to the right for a more comprehensive description of each building system used and its energy efficiency, hazard resistant, durability and healthy features.

Visit for a searchable online directory of the LaHouse Products and Services with descriptions, attributes, donors, and location exhibited in LaHouse.

Basic Spatial Program

  • Typical size new house – approx. 2,300 sq. ft. living area downstairs, 3,000 sq.ft. if upstairs living area included
  • Partial two-story (over a segment of house)
  • No level changes on first story (between rooms, sections, porches, etc.)
  • House layout in definable sections, each with a different building systems
  • Main entry and interior layout can accommodate flow of tour groups
  • Screened porch and shaded rear porch or deck
  • Front exterior access storage (for package delivery and storm preparedness)
1st story – for public touring
  • 2 BR, 2 baths
  • Open planning, great room (living, dining)
  • Dual-cook kitchen w/island or peninsula; largely open to great room
  • Laundry room
  • Home "telecommuting" office (to be used as resource center)
2nd story
  • Upstairs “bedrooms, etc.” to serve as office space for 3-4 staff
  • Walk-in storage space for publications, etc.
  • Exhibit area to show cutaways, wall sections, etc.
  • Detached "garage" (classroom), connected to house by covered breezeway
  • Fourth building system, slab on grade (fill to raise grade to base flood elevation)
  • Generous 2-car capacity, plus integrated “storeroom” exterior appearance; interior conditioned (different HVAC) and equipped for:
    • Classroom
    • Men's & women's public restrooms (interior)
    • Storage space and refreshment space
  • Barrier-free access to house and between house and garage/classroom

Target Market
  • Mainstream move-up market
  • Average household size (4 people)
  • Adaptable for both urban and rural markets
  • Range of features (some for custom, spec home and remodeling markets)
Architectural Style
  • Timeless (not trendy)
  • Reflects LSU architectural flavor
  • Appealing and attractive to various income levels, but not exclusionary
  • Features for custom, spec home and remodeling markets
  • Reflects climate zone
  • Consistent with all LaHouse criteria (does not violate any criteria)

Sustainability Criteria and Features
  • Energy-efficient design and construction (EnergyStar certified)
    • Passive solar orientation and features (front facing N or S) for BR climate zone
      • Minimized solar heat gain (shading, solar reflectance, etc.) is first priority
      • Winter efficiency and natural ventilation for mild seasons
    • Tight construction, controlled ventilation with efficient dehumidification
    • Insulation systems with good “whole wall” R-values
    • High-efficiency HVAC in conditioned space or in unvented, insulated attic
    • Zoned heating/cooling for day and night zones
    • Low-life-cycle-cost equipment and lighting:
      • high-color fluorescents, controlled daylighting, high-efficiency appliances, etc.

  • Water-conserving systems, equipment
    • Rainwater harvesting into cisterns for irrigation; appropriate roofing
    • No oversized whirlpool tubs; low-flow fixtures

  • Waste management systems and features
    • Modular planning (minimizing construction/material waste)
    • Suitable recycled and recyclable materials
    • Adaptable spaces
    • Recycling, sorting center (for home trash)

  • Pollution prevention and ecosystem protection
    • Water-quality protection:
      • Sanitary sewer system alternatives
      • Stormwater management/runoff reduction
      • Permeable paving alternatives
    • Shift toward renewable resources (as cost-effective)
    • Use of locally produced resources (minimize transportation inputs)
    • Suitable ozone-friendly materials
    • Minimized use of toxic substances
Multi-hazard resistance
  • Elevated above flood hazard
  • House elevated to BFE +3
  • Garage at BFE +1, slab on grade; use of dry floodproofing to BFE +3
  • Parts of house elevated via:
    • slab cap on back-fill within perimeter foundation wall
    • pier foundation
    • stemwall crawl space with required openings (NFIP regulations)
  • Wet-floodproofing demo areas (use of flood-resistant materials and installations, elevated equipment, etc.)
  • Hurricane and tornado resistant
    • hip and reinforced gable roof segments (hip on house, gable on shed)
    • engineered overhangs (no cantilevers)
    • hurricane straps and clips
    • storm shutters on some windows, some laminated glass
  • Safe room for severe weather
  • Freeze-resistant (water heater on ground floor, plumbing within insulated perimeter)
  • Fire-resistant construction and multi-hazard warning system
  • Hail damage-resistant materials
Pest resistance
  • Design and detailed for ease of inspection and detection; no wood left in ground, etc.
  • No untreated structural wood (use borate-treated wood and foam insulation, alternative materials)
Decay resistance
  • Continuous drainage plane in walls, capillary breaks
  • Overhangs, proper flashings, simple roof design, decay resistant materials
  • Long-lasting materials, equipment
Universal design
  • Safe, functional throughout lifecycle, but does not look institutional
  • Easily adaptable to changing needs
  • "Visitable" - wheelchair accessible clearances, thresholds, master bath
  • ADA ramp at entry; integrated into design
Good indoor air quality
  • Controlled ventilation with efficient dehumidification (maintain 40%-60% RH)
  • Building systems that prevent hidden mold

  • No unvented combustion
  • Detached garage
  • Low VOC/irritant materials as practical; limited use of wall-to-wall carpeting
Integrated pest management
  • Control with minimum use of pesticides
  • Cost-effective materials, technologies, systems (or soon to be)
    • Life-cycle cost basis
    • Considers risk management benefits (natural hazards, future energy prices, etc.)

  • Locally available materials and services (“off the shelf”) as much as possible

  • Considers labor availability, skills, learning curve or reduces construction time

  • Marketable to mainstream Louisiana consumers
    • Appearance, safety, proper use, etc. not a deterrent to adoption in the marketplace
    • Good resale potential
  • Family friendly and functional floorplan
    • Efficient workflows, traffic paths (kitchen, laundry, etc.)
    • Ample, adaptable and convenient storage space

  • Low maintenance, outside and inside

  • Advanced wiring, for information technology
    • Networking and integration; home office equipped for telecommuting
    • Ready for smart appliances, automation, etc.
    • Security and system management

  • Adaptable spaces and systems for changing user needs

3/10/2005 12:30:38 AM
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